Lexington Gets a Heart Program: Goal Achieved – 10 Years in the Making

There are few accomplishment of which I am more proud than the work we’ve done with Lexington Medical Center over the last several years. It is wonderful to work toward a goal that seems insurmountable, and finally see it achieved. That’s what I’ve gotten to be a part of at Lexington Medical Center.

Three years ago my firm was retained by Lexington Medical Center (LMC) in West Columbia, South Carolina to help them achieve a number of objectives, including securing State approval to build a heart program. South Carolina is a certificate of need state, and Lexington had been firmly denied in the past. Then an amendment to the State Health Plan that would have opened the door for LMC to get their new heart program was vetoed by the governor of South Carolina. At the time that LMC hired my firm, they had already invested seven years in the process. It had been seven years of hard work, disappointment and heart break. They faced consistent and vocal opposition from The State newspaper who feared that a heart center in Lexington County would water down the quality of care patients receive at the two existing downtown Columbia heart centers. The State Newspaper (owned by McClatchy) and Lexington Medical Center had a genuine difference of opinion about whether or not the residents of Lexington County should have their own heart center and over the impact of a new heart center on the quality of care in the Midlands. The editors of The State were willing to use their paper as a platform for repeatedly expressing their opposition to the proposed heart center.

All of that came to an end last night! About two week ago, LMC’s CON was approved by SC DHEC. And last night I attended a wonderful event where LMC thanked all of the hundreds of people who worked to make this a reality. It was an incredible evening. The dream of bringing heart care to the people of Lexington County will soon be a reality. Having the opportunity to be a part of something like this is why I love being a healthcare strategist and communicator! If you’d like to read more about LMC receiving approval for its heart program, go to To read a much earlier post I wrote about LMC’s battle for a heart program, go to

Here’s the 10 year timeline that documents LMC’s path to acquiring a heart program:

  • August 2000 – LMC’s Board approves the submission of a CON application for a diagnostic cath lab.
  • January 2001 – LMC receives CON approval from DHEC.
  • February 2002 – LMC opens diagnostic cath lab.
  • Calendar Year 2003 – Cath lab performs 1,210 diagnostic catheterizations.
  • April 2004 – LMC files CON to provide comprehensive cardiac services including open heart surgery and elective therapeutic cardiac caths.
  • October 2004 – CON denied.
  • February 2006 – LMC appeals DHEC’s denial of their open heart CON in administrative court.
  • April 2006 – The SC House and Senate each pass a bill that would have allowed LMC to perform open heart surgery.
  • May 2006 – Governor Mark Sanford vetoes the bill.
  • September 2006 – Administrative Law Court determines that a Lexington heart program would cause volumes to drop at Palmetto Health Richland and Providence Hospitals and should be denied for that reason.
  • January 2008 – Lexington Medical Center retains the services of Jennings, the healthcare strategy firm,  to assist with issue management, media relations and social networking.
  • January 2008 – SC Supreme Court agrees to review and hear LMC’s appeal.
  • November 2008 – LMC withdraws its appeal and submits a new CON for renovations, which includes the relocation of the Diagnostic Cath Lab Department, addition of a second cath lab and provision of emergency PCI services.
  • February 2009 – LMC partners with Providence Hospital, reaching an agreement where Providence would de-license one of their cardiac operating suites, allowing LMC to add a new suite.
  • April 2009 – Both houses of the SC Legislature pass a Joint Resolution commending LMC and Providence Hospitals for reaching such a groundbreaking agreement.
  • November 2009 – LMC receives CON approval from DHEC for the relocation of the Diagnostic Cath Lab Department, the addition of a second cath lab and provision for emergency PCI services.
  • December 2009 – LMC and Providence Hospitals files a joint CON (the first in the history of DHEC) for the development of an open heart surgery program at LMC.
  • January 2010 – LMC relocates the Diagnostic Cardiac Cath Department and opens the second cardiac cath lab and makes provisions for emergency PCI services.
  • April 2010 – LMC and Palmetto Health reach an agreement where LMC’s open heart program can proceed. Palmetto agrees not to contest LMC’s application.
  • June 2010 – DHEC approves Lexington Medical Center’s CON to provide comprehensive cardiovascular services, including open heart surgery and elective therapeutic cardiac catheterizations.
  • Next – LMC is expected to begin performing open heart surgeries within 9 to 12 months.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

3 comments on “Lexington Gets a Heart Program: Goal Achieved – 10 Years in the Making

  1. Pingback: The Long Road to Lexington’s New Cardiac Center « The Healthcare Marketer

  2. Pingback: Sometimes Putting The Surgeon On Camera Is The Right Decision « The Healthcare Marketer

  3. Pingback: Putting Surgeons On Camera - Healthcare Marketing | Jennings

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